Elizabeth Moon on Islam

Since my Optimus Prime vs Jesus Christ post is on the verge of becoming the most popular page in the history of the Hotlist (at the rate the hits are coming, it should beat GRRM's exclusive extract from "The Mystery Knight" before the weekend is through), I decided to go ahead and post what is the latest religious controversy within the SFF circles. . .

The World SF Blog posted an excerpt from a blog post by bestselling science fiction author Elizabeth Moon:

I know–I do not dispute–that many Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks, did not approve of them, would have stopped them if they could. I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Muslims, that many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways. I am totally, 100%, appalled at those who want to burn the Koran (which, by the way, I have read in English translation, with the same attention I’ve given to other holy books) or throw paint on mosques or beat up Muslims. But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they’ve had. Schools in my area held consciousness-raising sessions for kids about not teasing children in Muslim-defined clothing…but not about not teasing Jewish children or racial minorities. More law enforcement was dedicated to protecting mosques than synagogues–and synagogues are still targeted for vandalism. What I heard, in my area, after 9/11, was not condemnation by local mosques of the attack–but an immediate cry for protection even before anything happened. Our church, and many others (not, obviously all) already had in place a “peace and reconciliation” program that urged us to understand, forgive, pray for, not just innocent Muslims but the attackers themselves. It sponsored a talk by a Muslim from a local mosque–but the talk was all about how wonderful Islam was–totally ignoring the historical roots of Islamic violence.

I can easily imagine how Muslims would react to my excusing the Crusades on the basis of Islamic aggression from 600 to 1000 C.E….(for instance, excusing the building of a church on the site of a mosque in Cordoba after the Reconquista by reminding them of the mosque built on the site of an important early Christian church in Antioch.) So I don’t give that lecture to the innocent Muslims I come in contact with. I would appreciate the same courtesy in return (and don’t get it.) The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution…I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom. It would be helpful to have them understand what they’re demanding of me and others–how much more they’re asking than giving. It would be helpful for them to show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country.

As expected, this was linked and word got around and Moon's LJ was swamped with 500+ comments from readers. Those comments have now been deleted, but let's just say that it created quite a stir.

You can read Moon's entire post here. Here's little teaser of stuff not covered in the aforementioned link:

Whether a group changes its core behaviors and values after immigration or not, it must--to be assimilated later--come to understand the culture into which it has moved. To get along, it must try not to do those things which will, sure as eggs is eggs, create friction, distrust, and dislike. Is this a limitation on its freedom? Yes. It is also a limitation on the freedom of the existing culture into which it moves...it's a compromise. A compromise isn't entirely comfortable to either side, and either side may misjudge how uncomfortable a compromise is to the other side--it is wise to grant that what you're asking the other guy to do may be quite uncomfortable to him/her. A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships, blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.

[...]

I can easily imagine how Muslims would react to my excusing the Crusades on the basis of Islamic aggression from 600 to 1000 C.E....(for instance, excusing the building of a church on the site of a mosque in Cordoba after the Reconquista by reminding them of the mosque built on the site of an important early Christian church in Antioch.) So I don't give that lecture to the innocent Muslims I come in contact with. I would appreciate the same courtesy in return (and don't get it.) The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution...I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom. It would be helpful to have them understand what they're demanding of me and others--how much more they're asking than giving. It would be helpful for them to show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country. (And the same is true for many others, of course. Libertarians, survivalists, Tea-Partyers, fundamentalist Christians, anyone else whose goals benefit only their own group. There's been a huge decline in the understanding of good citizenship overall.)

But I don't expect this to happen. And on this anniversary of 9/11, all I can do is hope that no bombs are thrown, no Korans burned, no innocents killed... by anyone.

As a matter of course, the usual "I won't read her books anymore" silliness ensued. . .

Ah, ultra-soft Leftists. . . God love 'em! ;-)

45 commentaires:

The Evil Hat said...

I'm already not reading her books due to finding them lacking, to say the very least, but this wouldn't change my mind if I found her writing to be good. It's not that I agree with all of what she says, but rather that an author's personal beliefs have little bearing on me, providing those beliefs don't directly prevent me from enjoying the work.

Dream Girlzzz said...

That's why you can't retire, Pat. No one else disseminate stuff like that...

Eric said...

I read the entire article and agree with her 100%.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Hitchens wrote a much better article about this in Slate magazine.

Anonymous said...

I read some of the blog comments and was inspired to order a copy of Oath of Fealty.

Chris said...

Well, apparently now she deleted the comments. What about 1st amendment rights?

Yes, this is snarky. Other easy targets include:

- Sure, only leftists get taken by nerd rage.

- She's the really softie, wishing that no bomb gets thrown. Everybody uses bombs.

Sarcasm aside, I agree with The Evil Hat. Which is why I generally ignore your politics-related post but, hey, I had extra snark available today.

Anonymous said...

Exactly how is she wrong? I agree with her whole-heartedly. I will read her books now, knowing that she is smarter than 99% of today's authors, which consist of completely unrealistic bleeding heart radical lefties.

Matt said...

@Chris: This has nothing do do with 1st amendment rights or free speech. Those rights protect Moon from having the government restrict what she can saw. Moon was free to say what she said, and other people were equally free to express their disagreement, opposition, outrage, or whatever. That's the "marketplace of ideas" in action: if everyone's free to express his or her views, there will be a lot of silly views, but, one hopes, some good ones will emerge, too. If she deleted the comments because she didn't like the response (even though surely it was foreseeable), that was her choice. But it has nothing more to do with the 1st amendment than did the flap over Dr. Laura and her N-word diatribe.

Icarium said...

I also am completely in accord with her. Let the barbarians live in their barbarian country and not mingle where they're not wanted. It's not for us to bend backwards to please their absurd sensiblities but for them to evolve if they want to live in our more civilized countries.

Khaled said...

Which of my beliefs make me unfit for citizenship?

And, please, if you plan on responding, please take the time to learn about Islam before posting. There are a lot of practices and acts that are counter to the spirit of Islam (arranged marriages, subservient role of women in some cultures, forced covering of women in some cultures, etc...), so if you don't like those practices, I would say that you argue with that group's cultural practices, not the religion itself.

Anonymous said...

Muslims have all the rights that are granted to others thanks to our constitution. You don't have to bend over backwards for them but you can't infringe on their rights just because you consider them barbaric or inconsiderate to your feelings. There is no burden of proof for rights. Rights are innate and are granted to anyone who is a human being. Rights are not given but can only be taken away. I find particular Christian and Jewish practices barbaric but I don't paint them with a broad brush and I don't bend over backwards to accommodate them but I tolerate them because that is their religious right and does not interfere with state or federal laws. I don't really understand all this hype about Muslims not following the law in America or them trying to import Sharia law here how exactly do you think that's going to happen? We have these magical things called laws here both state and federal and not to mention the courts that stand before them Gandof like and will not let them pass. If you're really worried about region in the public atmosphere then maybe all those who get off on criticizing Muslims should be attacking the Christian right for trying to breakdown the establishment clause of the first amendment by doing stupid shit like calling Ameica a Christan nation now that's some shit that gets on my nerves. Breaking down that barrier is the only way to set a precedent to get Sharia here cause I sure as hell don't see Muslims bringing up Court cases about having Religion in public spaces, prayers in school, commandments in front of courthouses ect. And lets not forget the obligatory God Bless Americas.

machinery said...

icarium and people who think like you :
i am from israel, do you maintain this attitude when it comes to the israeli-palestinian conflict ?
or are you, for this matter, have ideas on what ISRAEL should do ?
suddenly it's not "leave them to their own" ?

Anubis said...

Anonymous wrote:

"I will read her books now, knowing that she is smarter than 99% of today's authors, which consist of completely unrealistic bleeding heart radical lefties."

Sure, take Christopher Hitchens as an example.

Ah, the smart guys and their brain-racking about 'Islam', 'liberty' and 'lefties'. Bound to fail, ever. God love it, but I'm getting bored of it...

Eric M. Edwards said...

Boycotting authors because of their politics, personalities, or foot-in-the-mouth statements *outside* their books, is misguided.

I can understand that for some readers the knowledge is enough to derail their sense of enjoyment.

When living authors show themselves to be racist, misogynistic or homophobic, or support climate change denial and the like, this can be a hard decision. Mostly, I'm only interested in the text, not the author. As long as such opinions are not in the books themselves at the expense of the story, I don't really care what sort of person the writer is in their private persona.

I do understand why people find Elizabeth Moon's ravings hard to take without comment (and apparently, she deleted that option for many by deleting their comments).

She's cloaking racism of a dangerous sort - one linked to her own illogical faith which hasn't a leg to stand on when it comes to intolerance, violence, and rubbing people the wrong way - with a flawed defense of an America that doesn't exist, based on American history that never was.

Fine for an alt history scifi novel, but not a reasonable argument. Clearly this is an emotive reaction on Moon's part based on a willful blindness to the facts.

"Americans" were not forced to assimilate themselves with native cultures, their beliefs, or societies when they got to the Americas. Instead, they systematically wiped them out and forced the few remainders on to reservations. They certainly didn't show "forbearance" for the wars and reprisals their brutal colonization efforts engendered.

Later settlers, despite predominantly from the same landmass (i.e. Europe) unless either slaves or disposable labour for the railways, did not find a smooth path. Nor did they leave their own cultures selflessly behind. These groups struggled for recognition; faced religious and racial discrimination. They often subjected the next wave which followed to much the same process in a man-kick-dog-bite-cat-claw-rat sort of progression.

In Mexico, Central and South America, assimilation was accomplished by means equally brutal - the breeding out of pure indigenous populations, conversion at the end of a musket, and a similar pattern of displacement by Europeans.

Caribbean and island populations have their own sad histories. The struggle to be treated as fellow humans along with the continent's trade in slaves, is well documented.

It's absolute nonsense to indicate that Muslims need to walk softly and apologize profusely for a list of conflicts with the nominal "Christian" population of America - most of which have nothing to do with 9/11 and happened long before the founding fathers were even a twinkle in the moist eyes of history.

The shrill demand for Muslim obsequiousness over the destruction of the Twin Towers which haunts Moon's diatribe shows a lack of historical perspective. It is, whatever people's emotive reaction, a drop in the bucket when it comes to human atrocities.

I'll never forget having a coworker the day after the planes hit the Trade Towers furiously exclaim, "Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the world!" Which while technically correct, is such an obvious misunderstanding of this particular tragedy's place in the list of Really Bad Things Humans Have Done to Each Other, as to leave me speechless.

As do Moon's comments about the forbearance of those “Christian” communities who haven't burnt down mosques or lynched any Muslims, -lately. No doubt the Japanese-Americans enjoyed a similar forbearance whilst holidaying in internment camps during WWII.

It's sad that Moon had this moment of madness, but she'd not alone. Hysteria and blindness to the facts have long since replaced intelligent discussion on this topic and are, only likely to prevail.

E.

Anonymous said...

"ultra soft leftists". Your insight and information about the Sci-fi fantasy industry will be missed. But your fanatical rightist bias wont. I'm sure this won't pass "approval" though, censorship is a right wing value.

Anubis said...

I just linked this and commented on it (in German).

Patrick said...

Fanatical rightist bias??? Moi!?!

If you make this ridiculous claim because I would like to see the moderate Muslims of America denounce the atrocities perpetrated by radical fundamentalist elements of their faith so they are not found "guilty by association" and thus persecuted though they have nothing to do with said atrocities, then I am guilty as charged.

By maintaining their collective silence regarding such heinous acts, indirectly they condone them.

Is it unfair that they should have to go to such lengths, you bet. But if they don't want this kettle to explode (and it won't take 20 years like it did in Belgium to do so in the USA), they, as a community and not a few scattered individuals, must make a stand and show those misguided American souls that they are nothing like the crazy fuckwits who are responsible for so many atrocities.

As long as the situation remains as it is now, it will only continue to exacerbate and the violence will escalate. I'm persuaded that nobody wants that...

But what do I know? I'm just a fanatical right-wing nutjob, after all... =)

Eric M. Edwards said...

Patrick:

I don't (honestly) know your opinions well enough to level any charges of bias. Just sounding you out here. I hope you'll approach my comments with the same open mind.

However, I'm curious how you feel about the groups on the other side of the debate here. Ones who can be classified as being very much right wing. That's not open for debate, because they'd be the first to label themselves this. The Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Fox News...well, scratch the last one off the list as we all know just how "fair and balanced" this arm of Newscorp really is.

They have been active in stirring up not just opposition, but outright hatred. They've also been extremely vocal about making this a line in the sand, so to speak, and steadily ramping up the rhetoric and threats. Without doing much fact checking or at least sharing those facts with the mobs they're inciting.

Shouldn't this sort of organized demagoguery and shit-stirring, be seriously faced by the right? At the very least the centre-moderates (if there are any of those left) in the GOP? Unless of course, this is exactly the kind of dark arts they depend on to twist facts, distort popular opinion, and what they're really looking for is a self-fulfilling prophecy of violent conflict with American Islam - with a nudge here and there to keep things rolling along when cooler head prevail or people lose their nerve.

Perhaps they're simply content to ride the whirlwind in the mad hope that no matter what the cost to the party and the nation at large, it will land some of them in much hoped for seats currently being denied to them. Not least, the one in the oval office.

I would say that unless that's what those on the right (whatever degree along the line of they might think they sit) universally want, then they've got a responsibility not to let this be, pardon the phrase, hijacked by extremists on their own side.

How much better to use this opportunity to build up some credit in the bank of good will and mutual understanding which has been utterly bankrupted by years of disastrous American policy in the Middle East. We've seen from 9/11 to the current quagmire in Afghanistan, exactly what this sort of sowing is most likely to reap. American lives, civilian and service people alike, lost, damage to the US' fragile international standing, and immeasurable suffering, death, and collateral losses to both our foes and our allies.

Now I haven't seen nearly the same vitriolic response from America's Islamic and Muslim communities on this issue. Are they cowed, wearily resigned, or simply more tolerant in this case?

What do you think?

E.

Ludwig said...

"If you make this ridiculous claim because I would like to see the moderate Muslims of America denounce the atrocities perpetrated by radical fundamentalist elements of their faith so they are not found "guilty by association" and thus persecuted though they have nothing to do with said atrocities, then I am guilty as charged."

Well, to demand from moderate muslims (ie the vast majority of muslims in the west) that they go to great lengths to 'denounce' some peoples' crimes strikes me as absurd. Why should they do that? They are most probably as appalled by those crimes as you or me, or any sane person for that matter. But even though I might be appalled by the acts of some random person who happens to be part of a (random) social group of which I, too, am a part, I will certainly not denounce his acts or apologise for them publicly. Why should I?

Daniel Abraham said...

Pat sez:

By maintaining their collective silence regarding such heinous acts, indirectly they condone them.

Saladin said on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist a little less than three weeks ago:

Except...not so much:

http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php


Those who do not know history are condemned to repost it. ;)

Anonymous said...

Although I've never thought you were a "fanatical rightist," Pat, I take issue with the belief that you (and many others) hold that moderate Muslims have some sort of duty or obligation to denounce the actions of the extremists in their religion. In fact, plenty of high-profile Muslims *have* denounced radical Islamic extremism - there are several awesome books on the market (No God but God by Reza Aslan and several by Khaled Abou al-Hosseini come right to my mind) denouncing radical Islam and explaining why it doesn't make sense from the perspective of the mainstream religion. And frankly, it's this kind of thinking that terrorists use to justify their own actions. There's no denying that the United States has aided and abetted plenty of evil in the world: it's this perceived guilt that drives acts of terrorism like 9/11, and the idea that all Americans and American allies are, by default, guilty of whatever evil the government has perpetrated. Are we all supposed to go around beating our breasts, tearing our clothes and wailing for all of America's wrongdoing?

Sometimes I wonder: Did anybody else's parents ever teach them, "Two wrongs don't make a right?"

Patrick said...

Okay, just came back from a wedding and I have to get up early tomorrow, so I'll try to make this quick and hopefully make sense.

Eric: The problem in the USA is that there has been such a polarizing of both parties in recent years and it feels that only the radical elements of both the Republicans and the Democrats are in the game nowadays. So in essence, you are either a God-fearing, Bible-waving, traditional fuckwit who hates and/or resent anything that's not white and Christian, or you are a brown-nosing, Greenpeace-loving, ultra-soft Left dumbass who sees the world through rose-tinted glasses.

Hence, I feel that both parties have been hijacked by their more extremist members. And that's a real problem. Both ideologies are so far apart that there is no hope that they can ever co-exist and perhaps the dialogue would help each side to water their wine and maybe agree on certain issues. It's pretty much a done-deal that the Republicans will reclaim the House of Representatives this November, which will effectively render Obama's administration obsolete. Obama leans to far to the Left and the House will be reclaimed by Republicans who lean too far to the Right for any sort of consensus to be achieved between them.

Shouldn't this sort of organized demagoguery and shit-stirring, be seriously faced by the right? you ask. Damn right! And the same thing with Obama's Democrats, who one and all seem to be devoid of any common sense at times. Problem is, I don't see this happening any time soon, on any side.

But that's politics for you. ;-)

I was discussing this with a friend a few days ago, and we agreed that it's a good thing the American Right is the really traditional, religious, and domestic entity it has always been. If it had a little international flair and started generating fearmongering by making public some of the atrocities committed in Indonesia and certain Middle Eastern countries, invited right-leaning political analysts from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, etc, and they spitefully unleashed an extremely bleak picture of countries who "failed to keep Muslims in check" and are now faced with grave societal problems two decades down the line, can you imagine the shitstorm this would produce from coast to coast. The violence against Muslims would escalate to a level I don't wish to contemplate...

Ludwig: It's easy for you and I to make such claims. Yet we aren't the ones who might get knifed in the back just because we follow Islam. We're not the one who might be the target of violence just because of our faith. Why should they? Because, like everyone else, they want to live their lives peacefully without fear of hatred and violence because they're Muslims. Because right now, basically in every Western countries, it's almost always the moderate Muslims who are the targets of violence because people find them "guilty by association." As I said, it's not fair, but it's up to them to make a stand and show everyone that you cannot consider them the way you do extremists.

Patrick said...

Daniel and Anon: This is nowhere near enough, Daniel. As an American, you know damn well that it takes much more than that to sway a nation like the USA.

It's unfair, true, but it's up to the moderate Muslims to stand up for what they believe in to show the world that they are the complete opposite of what fundamentalists are. I read an editorial a few years back, and Mark Steyn touched upon that in his book as well as many articles, and they were saying how moderate Muslims are not unseen as much as they are "unheard." Anyone who lives in a multicultural city knows Muslims, has worked with Muslims, has gone to school with Muslims, are friends with Muslims, and they'll tell you that they are the nicest people in the world. And they'd be right. Trouble is, when every last member of a Christian village is decapitated by Muslims fuckwits, or Muslim terrorists blow up a train or a bus full of people in Europe, you never see them on the news denouncing what happened, or read how appalled they are by such acts in the newspapers. No, the only thing you see or hear them say is how, again, they'll be the target of violence, both verbal and physical, how there will be racial profiling, etc. Why is it that we never see a local, regional, provincial, national Muslim council putting its collective foot down and say loud and clear that this is inexcusable and that Islam doesn't stand for that sort of heinous crimes? As a Catholic, do you think that I condoned the atrocities committed by Catholics in Ireland during the conflict, or that I'll excuse all those priests found guilty of being child molesters? Hell no! So I guess people want to see that sort of condemnation coming from the moderate Muslims as a collective entity. People in the USA and elsewhere need to be educated so they can understand that the friendly Muslim family that runs the small grocery store on the street corner is as much a member of their community as any other American family. But in other to achieve this lofty goal, I, along with many other people, would like to see them dissociate themselves from the radical elements of the Islamic faith. A few blog post, articles, and tv appearances are not enough to turn the tide, especially with the way things are going now. As I mentioned, things won't take 20 years to reach the point it's reached in Belgium. And then, it will likely be too late...

Okay, got to hit the shower. I doubt we'll remake the world on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist any time soon! :P

Still, I have a feeling that moderate Muslims do make a stand, denounce the atrocities committed by fundamentalists the world over, and show that they indeed share values such as love and respect, they will gradually find out that more and more people are willing to listen and reconsider their position. That won't happen overnight, sure.

But like Rage Against the Machine said: It has to start somewhere. It has to start some time. What better place than here? What better time than now?

How's that for fanatical Right-wing rhetoric!?!

Daniel Abraham said...

Pat sez:

It's unfair, true, but it's up to the moderate Muslims to stand up for what they believe in to show the world that they are the complete opposite of what fundamentalists are.

I love and respect you, man, but I think you're making an impossible request. If I read you right, you're saying that the list of individuals that Saladin cited isn't enough because it's not collective and doesn't get enough press time to convince us non-Muslim US citizens that they aren't on the side of the death cultists.

Seems to me the decision of whether to give moderate-Islam-as-if-it-were-a-single-entity the bully pulpit it would need to make its case is in the hands of news editors and journalists. You've already got a bunch of very eloquent folks making their points as clearly as they can. That they can't say it on prime time television isn't their decision. If just talking about it online and having a metric assload of individuals stand up, Saladin's list would have drawn more water with you.

And it's also not just the responsibility of Muslims to stand up and say they aren't death cultists. I'm nothing resembling Muslim, and I think it's my job as a citizen to report that none of my Muslim friends or co-workers or neighbors are death cultists, and in fact a fella named Mohommed pretty much saved my wife's life a couple years back.

Seems to me that the real divisions we're seeing are between the folks who want tolerance and the ones who don't, and as far as I can tell there's some of both kinds in pretty nearly any political or religious subgroup you want to look at.

And I hope the wedding was a blast.

Patrick said...

Daniel:

I don't believe it's an impossible request. It would be a long and arduous road, to be certain, but not impossible. Especially since all the major networks other than Fox are pretty much eating up the soft Left Obama rhetoric with a spoon.

Any charismatic, articulate, and friendly Muslims who really want to bring about "change we can believe in" should be able to get air time without much trouble in the States.

And yes, you are right, we have a responsibility to do our part. And I guess that you and I both do it, as well as thousands of other people around the world. Problem is, every time you see or hear something involving Muslims on TV, on the radio, or in the papers, it's yet another set of atrocities, committed or planned, in some part of the world. So it all comes down to an image problem.

And in America, with its strong, traditional Christian beliefs and values, Muslims are more or less found guilty by association because everything people hear about Islam (the extremist stuff) goes against what Christians believe in.

No one can change that overnight, as I said before. But I feel, misguided as that can be, that until the moderate Muslims as a community of every State in the USA show a united front as say, "Enough," then things will continue to go downhill.

And we can all agree that things can get much worse, what with the campaign already begun. As I mentioned in one of my posts above, if the Republicans want to play dirty, there is a not of shit they could stir to ensure they get the votes come November...

Okay, gotta go to work. =(

Anonymous said...

Asking every sensible muslim to keep apologizing for acts they've not committed nor condoned is simply bull, they're simply too many assholes doing too much shit for muslims to stay on their knees for.
Its not every Muslims' responsibility to keep apologizing to egomaniacs every time some so called muslim blows himself up.
That you wanna lay it out on Islam and all muslims is your bias, deal with it.

Anubis said...

Damn it, North Americans seem to be unable to grasp that LIBERAL is not LEFTIST. I (unlike Obama, the Democrats or Greenpeace) am a leftist, and about any time I partook in political action conservative christians, corporate media, politicians and other fuckheads wanted me to condemn violence and dissasociate from so-called violent elements. Except that I never did use violence or associated with those who did.

While I would readily stand up and report that I know many muslims who oppose terrorism and fanaticism, as Daniel says, I'll never go making excuses for things I have nothing to do with. I don't run around denunciating child abuse, because I don't abuse children. I don't apologize for all the crappy SFF stuff out there, because I don't write and publish it. And I gleefully tell the people who want me to make such apologies to go fuck themselves.

Anonymous said...

eh, americans don't take people from texas very seriously anyway.

Daniel Abraham said...

Pat sez:

I don't believe it's an impossible request. It would be a long and arduous road, to be certain, but not impossible. Especially since all the major networks other than Fox are pretty much eating up the soft Left Obama rhetoric with a spoon.

Any charismatic, articulate, and friendly Muslims who really want to bring about "change we can believe in" should be able to get air time without much trouble in the States.


Us lefties call that "the corporate media" and think it's got a strong conservative slant. :)

That aside, though, we have different opinions about the availability of air time for *any* moderate opinion in the mainstream media these days.

I think there are a bunch of thoughtful, persuasive Muslim voices out there, and I don't think they're welcome on the major networks. I don't have hard data on that, though.

If you have examples of news editors who are looking for moderate Muslim commentators willing to speak against the death cultists and can't find any, I'd be interested to see the links. If that's really going on, it would change my opinion.

Patrick said...

Daniel: I will have to take your word for it...

Though every time I check out the news on CBS, NBC, and ABC, they all seem to peddle the same Leftist ideas, etc. If you feel that there is indeed a conservative slant to what comes out of the corporate media, then I feel that this is truly a lost cause.

And I can't for the life of me believe that the soft-Leftists and the cocktail party intellectuals who comprise a vast bulk of the media in North America would willingly let things go to shit to the degree where violence perpetrated against Muslims everywhere in the States will become common place without trying to give a voice to the moderate Muslims.

It just might be that they haven't found that friendly, intelligent, and articulate Muslim people can actually listen to and learn to trust. But for the love of God (no pun intended), please refrain from putting more imams on television. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on CNN was just about the worse PR move one could make. I think that people need to see the regular Joes (Mohameds??) speak, as they are the ones you come in contact with every day. In 2010, people should know that you simply cannot trust priests of any sort or denomination...

Call me a dreamer, but I sincerely believe that without the moderate Muslims coming together and making a stand (they should never have to apologize for atrocities they haven't committed), this kettle will just explode and chaos will ensue. Especially that Obama should lose control before the end of the year, things will take quite a turn toward the Center if not the Right...

Daniel Abraham said...

Pat sez:

If you feel that there is indeed a conservative slant to what comes out of the corporate media, then I feel that this is truly a lost cause.

Not a lost cause, but a more complicated and in-depth conversation that we're probably going to have in this venue. The truth is we're probably closer to agreement than it seems, but the vocabulary we use for it -- liberal, conservative, left, right, etc. -- is vague enough that the two of us mean different things when we say them.

Pat also sez:

In 2010, people should know that you simply cannot trust priests of any sort or denomination...

Now *there's* a minority opinion I can get behind.

yamamanama said...

I can't say that I won't read her works anymore because of this, since it's not like I was planning on reading them to begin with.

Patrick said...

Daniel: I don't necessarily think so. We're just two guys from opposite ends of the political spectrum agreeing on something.

See, folks, it can happen! :P

Dream Girlzzz said...

Have you seen yesterday's column "Mollifying Muslims, and Muslifying Mollies" by Mark Steyn at http://www.marksteyn.com?

Here are some quotes:

«Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.»

«Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the President of the United States to denounce him, and the Secretary of State, and the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie. President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the western world feel they have to weigh in.»

«When someone destroys a bible, US government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.»

«It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threaten it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the “good cop” to the crazies’ "bad cop". Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us "Islam is a religion of peace" then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people.»

Worth a read!

yamamanama said...

The mere existence of Dan Simmons and his forums has filled me with a deep loathing of Steyn and Krauthammer.

Anonymous said...

@Eric M. Edwards: Your first post, at least, was very stirring and eloquent.

Don't forget that Moon's opinions on Islam have nothing to do with her fantasy & SciFi novels.

I've enjoyed The Deed of Paksenarrion for many years. I don't intend to stop because I feel she has some misguided opinions.

I wish people could separate their emotions from their opinions a little more. When I read what I consider "anti-Islam" posts, I sometimes find one or two points I half agree with. I wish that when people discussed serious matters, which this is, we could all find it in ourselves disengage from our emotions and our pride so that, rather than dehumanizing The Other Side, we found bits of common ground. Maybe we'd actually get somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Why have none of the people here who agree with Moon's opinion commented on Khaled's post?

"Which of my beliefs make me unfit for citizenship?"

I would also like to know this. Ms. Moon made a number of missteps in the construction and justification of her opinion, but this is the most egregious. If someone is going to make the claim that the tenets of Islam are anathema to the U.S. Constitution, that is a claim that needs some damned justification, and Moon provides none.

Most people seem to be responding to this on the grounds of "I AGREE WITH THIS" or "I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS." Regardless of whether her conclusions are "correct," (or whether any of us agree with them or not) she's made an incredible shoddy argument, fraught with fallacious appeals to emotion and her own assumed authority, and most frustrating, use of the Constitution as some sort of broad-brush symbol for "what America means to me," and not the complex, detailed legal document that it is.

Brad R. Torgersen said...

I'm a relatively new SF writer, and what I found most interesting about this whole affair, was how the people who slagged Moon also would not allow or permit any reasoned defense of Moon's comments. Ergo, anyone who defended Moon was branded a racist and an Islamophobe too. I find it bleakly ammusing that in our spiralling pursuit of Correctness, we have created a conversational climate which has been chilled to this terrible level. This isn't discourse. It's a straightjacket.

Anyway, Moon's comments were cogent and harmless. Alas, she fell into the path of the Correctness mongers, and the stupidity got turned up full blast. I wonder if in years to come, some of the people who went out of their way to castigate and lecture Moon, will feel silly or even ashamed of their behavior? This appears to be a group who believe their moral stance on the issue -- if we can even call it that -- to be absolute.

Anonymous said...

as an american conservative christian with insight into arab/muslim culture, i say that elizabeth moon makes some very good points about how messed up things are. She's merely looking at the muslim dilemma using history as a perspective. and the fact is america, and what can generally be referred to as the West, has an issue with muslims. and it will always be this way. first, and most importantly, because of the initial violent spread of islam (how many cultures in n. africa and the mid east were lost in that tragedy?), directly followed by the crusades, second because america supports israel, and third because jihad is encouraged in islam, and the current definition of jihad entails violence against the enemy of islam. it's all very circular.

and why am i anonymous? because i fear being targeted by muslims who took offense to what i just said.

Noor Jahangir said...

If you want peace on Earth, get rid of humanity. All we seem capable of doing is attacking each other's beliefs, ideas and values. Yes, sometimes people say and do things that upset others. Yes, we have a long history of blowing each other up and killing each other. Yes, we need an alien invasion to unite us. Yes, I just want someone to publish my fantasy book so I can have bragging rights to being an expert on world faiths and sociological history. Join me in calling down an Alien Invasion to unite the world!

Wine and food said...

Pat, you should dump anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

I really think the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Moon's comment while being somewhat harsh on Muslims, are nowhere near as Islamophobic as one would expect from the comments.
I agree whole heartedly with Ludwig that there is no real reason(except for pleasing Islamophobes) for Muslims to apologise for what 9/11 terrorists did. Look at some of the numbers : 9/11 about 6000 dead, Iraq about 100,000 civillians dead. Does anybody propose that Americans in general apologise for the deaths of Iraqi civillians? Or about all the white supremacist atrocities?

It may seem somewhat harsh to the families of victims, but the truth is that much more horrible atrocities have been committed by humans(some of them Christian), yet only Muslims are labelled terrorists due to the actions of a few. The importance heaped on 9/11 is much more than it deserves and most of it due to politicians and jingoists and on each side.

Miss Carnivorous said...

I stopped reading Anne Perry's novels when I found out she was an accomplice to a murder. To me, murder seems a good enough reason to boycott someone's (even someone who writes as well as Ms Perry does) novels, but disagreeing with somebody's personal beliefs is not on my list for possible boycotts of works by past, present, or future artists. I am not willing to cut my nose off to spite my face. What if the hypothetical work of art by the person I might disagree with is just too thrilling and moving and all out wonderful to miss? This all smacks of religiosity and martyrism. If you don't like Ms Moon's novels to begin with, you really aren't sacrificing anything. You aren't suffering for your beliefs. If you love her writing and you are giving up her novels to defend the hypothetical hurt feelings of hypothetical Muslims whom you don't even know, you are just denying yourself pleasure, which is like giving up meat for lent, and really, who cares what you eat, or don't eat, (or read, or don't read, for that matter) anyway, as there really is no God (but Allah.) It all just seems really silly to me.

World Peace! :) said...

In general, as a science fiction fan and a person with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim members in my close family, I find Moon's comment extremely disturbing.

"...other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution..." -- This point was particularly problematic. In the past fifty years (even before 9/11) the criticism of Islam as a sexist religion has been prevalent and is one of the most common manifestations of cultural prejudice of the West toward the East; in many ways it has been a very imperialist sentiment.

In many ways, Islam actually furthered the rights of women during its inception. It is a well known fact that Muslims pray five times a day to the Kabba in Mecca, but not many people realize that that holy place was founded by a woman--Hajira, or Hagar--Abraham's wife.

The issue of the hijab is, according to some, not even a strictly stated rule in the Koran but something symbolic; it's a choice! :) Female ppression in the Middle East is more political and in some cases cultural (probably pscyhological is the right word--the arrogance of men) than anything else.

"...show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country."
--I know plenty of Muslims and they all show understanding for the responsibility of citizenship in a non-Muslim country. I have no idea where she's getting this from, but it's simply not true at all and is a very sad comment to hear. As a first generation American of multiple racial and religious backgrounds, I feel America is all about diversity and the acceptance of other cultures--and this comment does not seem to accord with that, regardless of the fact that the vast majority of Muslims actually celebrate and embrace American diversity.

"I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom."
--I think everyone has to make sacrifices and practice tolerance in order to encourage cross-cultural communication and world peace. I'm not sure how Islam makes someone "unfit for citizenship."

"There's been a huge decline in the understanding of good citizenship overall." -- Ditto.

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